Member for Shepparton, Kim O’Keeffe, took the Strathmerton tragedy in which five people died last month to the floor of the Victorian Parliament this week, demanding Roads and Road Safety Minister Melissa Horne immediately and urgently intervene to remedy the dangerous Labuan Rd and Murray Valley Hwy intersection.
Ms O’Keeffe says her deepest and most sincere sympathy, and condolences, go out to the families and friends of the deceased, as well as the driver of the truck with which their car collided.
She says her thoughts are also with the first responders who had to front this “incredible tragedy” and the wider community, which is steel feeling the ripple effects of the accident.
“This is a very dangerous, very deadly intersection – this was the second fatal collision here in just over a year,” Ms O’Keeffe says.
“There is a rise from an old railway line a very short distance before you get to the corner, which does have a give way sign – but even vehicles travelling within the speed limit still come on it to suddenly with little warning time to slow down,” she says.
“It is badly designed, and three other crashes in the past two years, on top of the two fatal incidents, prove that.
“If this intersection is not improved now, it is only a matter of when, not if, there will be another bad smash and maybe more lives lost.”
Ms O’Keeffe says too many people are still losing their lives on regional roads and the statistics are alarming. TAC figures for just this year show 64.2 per cent of Victoria’s road fatalities have occurred on regional and rural roads.
But adds regional Victoria only represents 25 per cent of the state’s population.
And she says with more people travelling to regional Victoria our badly-maintained road network must be improved on a statewide scale.
“The Andrews Labor government must urgently inject additional funds into the upcoming budget to repair Victoria’s dilapidated regional roads networks and fix unsafe intersections – he managed to spend a small fortune removing level rail crossings in Melbourne but the figures prove that money, and more, must be better spent in regional areas,” Ms O’Keeffe added.
“Road trauma causes pain and damage for years, even generations, beyond the crash itself and we need to do whatever we can to avoid a repeat of something as profoundly overwhelming as the Strathmerton crash ever happening again.”